The last decade was an eye-opener when it came to the real problem that plastic is having on our environment. We saw countries and citizens around the world taking action to cut down on plastic use.
But what about when you travel? Trial size toiletries, plastic cups at hotels, ziplock bags for TSA screening – the list goes on and on. Some countries (and even some local US states) have banned the use of plastics, so be sure to check your destination before getting on that jet plane.
So what can we as travelers do to minimize our impact on the beautiful destinations we visit and reduce plastic waste?
- Top 5 Ways You Can Help When Vacationing -
Luckily – it’s actually pretty easy! When the whole world jumps on board with solutions, we can implement small changes to reduce our plastic waste AND end up saving money and the planet in the long run!
These are only a few of the ways that you can help minimize your use of plastic when traveling and keep these wonderful destinations beautiful for years to come – as well as, save some money to put towards your next trip!
If you’re interested in finding out about other ways that you can contribute to being an eco-conscious traveler or need help finding the next perfect destination for your next adventure - just Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195 today!
Well, this newsletter was supposed to be about my recent trip to a bucket list dream of mine – specifically Exuma, in the Bahamas.
If you don’t know about the famous swimming pigs of the Bahamas, give me a call and I can fill you in! It’s been a personal dream of mine to swim with the pigs in the crystal-clear waters, and this year I finally booked the trip!
As the departure date got closer, I got more and more excited – I was packed and ready to go a week before we had to leave, the house was clean, and I was tying up loose ends at work – next stop, Bahamas!
Until three days before I had to leave...
- Vitamin Sea is not an effective treatment for pneumonia -
It started with a scratchy throat and sniffle here and there, but by the next day I knew I had to go to the doctor before it got worse. I was determined to fight what I thought was just a cold before my trip, but little did I know I would be diagnosed with pneumonia. I still had a couple of days before we left though, so I took my antibiotics, went home to rest and planned to use my sheer strength of will to kick the pneumonia in two days. I got this!
Unfortunately, I was wrong, and the worst was yet to come, which is why instead of sharing my experiences and pictures from Exuma with you, I’m telling you about how life just happens sometimes - whether we think it will or not.
As upset as I was about having to cancel my trip, it would have been a million times worse if I hadn’t bought travel insurance. Luckily, I was able to get fully reimbursed for the vacation and I decided to put that money towards a different bucket list item of mine – an African Safari! (You’ll have to wait until March to hear more about that though!!) I will get another chance to get to Exuma and will try again when the timing is right.
I know it’s tempting to “wing it” when it comes to travel insurance, but the amount of things that can go wrong when you’re leaving your home are significant, and many of the instances that can occur are completely out of your control - which is what insurance is all about - unexpected situations.
Additionally, there seems to be a misconception that travel insurance is solely for if you need to cancel your trip, or that's it's a gimmick for the suppliers to make more money, but that is not the case at all.
Let's take a look at the 4 major protections that travel insurance offers:
As you can see, travel insurance can be beneficial for a number of reasons and simply put, should just be built into the cost of anyone’s getaway. You wouldn’t drive without car insurance or leave your prized possessions un-insured, so give yourself and the trip investment the same kind of protection.
No one ever intends or wants to cancel a fun and exciting trip - especially when traveling for a special celebration! I never thought I'd cancel my bucketlist trip, but coming down with pneumonia sure created a new plan for me :)
With a great travel agent and travel insurance, you’re setting yourself up for vacation success while minimizing stress! Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195 today if you’d like to see if you’re eligible to add insurance to your already booked trip OR if you’d like to chat about creating a new vacation experience!
I can't believe this year is almost over! I'm squeezing in one last trip for the year, and heading to Exuma with the hubby tomorrow. I can't wait to share my adventure around this charming Bahamas island - be sure to follow my Facebook or Instagram pages to learn about all the fascinating experiences you can enjoy on this beautiful island.
If you are struggling with those harder to buy for people on your holiday list - I have the perfect alternative you might consider as a gift this year that they will remember for a lifetime.
Travel Is Way Better Than Stuff!
Travel is so memorable and gives pleasure that simply can’t be created from commercial goods. The truth is most people don’t remember gifts that were given to them for any given occasion, regardless of how much money you spent on it. But, ask them about trips they've been on, and they will likely be able to tell you with unbelievable accuracy the details of that trip!
Stuff comes and goes, but memories are there forever. Traveling provides us stories to tell, and inspires new dreams within us. Travel helps us to share experiences in a way objects cannot.
Travel Yields Deeper Bonds!
Consider for a moment what happens when you give the gift of an object. You hand it to the recipient. They may or may not light up with joy in the moment, but then it’s over. You have nothing further to discuss other than a comment if they wear it or use it from time to time.
Now consider what happens when you go on a trip... You can plan it together. You can visit the various sites together. You share the views, the culture, the food, etc... You’re experiencing the trip together. Then, when you get back you have memories to call upon together. It’s not a one-sided experience anymore. It’s something you can truly bond over for a lifetime.
As we travel and interact with new things, we are mentally stimulated. We ask more questions. We feel more engaged. We feel present in the moment, and more excited to be with those we’re experiencing the trip with.
Now, I know what you may be thinking - what if you give the gift of travel to someone, and you’re not going on the trip with them? You’ll still enjoy many benefits that you wouldn’t get to have with gifts of objects. For example:
Would you like help creating the perfect travel gift? Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195 today and see how we can help plan the ultimate, treasured gift of all time! We even offer gift certificates!
I just returned from a personal vacation with my husband in Mexico. During our trip, we overheard some couples discussing what they should be tipping at dinner. This is a common question that many travelers have, so thought it would be a good topic to chat about today. I will cover when, how, and how much to tip for your next resort vacation.
Note: the information in this post is based on current trends and practices. For superior service, you might consider increasing the gratuity based on your experience. This is also based on US Dollars, so for those countries that may not prefer US currency, just calculate the exchange rate in relation to the local currency.
First and foremost is the importance of bringing more small bills with you on the trip. This will allow you the freedom to adjust the gratuity when needed. If you’re paying by credit card for a service such as a massage, you can usually add the tip to your bill. However, it's nicer to provide cash directly to your service provider.
When and How Much to Tip at Most Resorts:
Some all-inclusive resorts include the gratuity as part of your package cost or resort fee. You will want to check with your travel agent to confirm if this is the case and if extra tipping may be appropriate. In most cases, an extra tip would be most appreciated and welcomed. However, there are some resorts that truly will not allow you to tip their staff anything extra no matter how much you feel they deserve it. In all cases, you will always still tip for spa and salon services, as well as, shuttles to and from the airport, as those services do not fall under the "tipping included" pricing.
If you want to learn more about our travel app or discuss your next trip, Book your consultation or call today (913) 244-9195.
Working in the travel industry, I’m always amazed by the gizmos and gadgets travelers carry with them to enhance their travel experiences. I thought it would be fun to share with you 8 cool tech-savvy travel gadgets I’ve seen or enjoy myself (even though they might not be new to you). Check them out below, and you might just be inspired as to what to give the traveler in your life for a birthday, holiday, or some other special occasion!
Destinations HD has a cool travel gadget too! We offer a Mobile Travel App that is customized just for you! This is where you will find all your travel details, confirmations, requirements, contact info, travel tips/advice, recommendations, & so much more. Everything you need to know about your trip is just a click away on your smartphone to view at any time, any where. Plus, there is even a chat feature to reach Destinations HD during your trip if you don't have cell coverage. We are always here for you during your travels and want you to have the best time, so you are never alone!
If you want to learn more about our travel app or discuss your next trip, Book your consultation or call today (913) 244-9195.
I'm currently planning a reunion getaway with the girls I met in Fiji this year. We became fast friends and traveling without them isn't quite the same now. Do you have those friends that make everything better together?
With life taking people all over the world for work and family, it's hard to stay in touch as much as you use to with your pals. Meeting up for trips is a great way to reconnect, as well as, experience new things and create unforgettable memories together!
As we start to plan our reunion vacation, it got me thinking about how women-only vacations have become increasingly popular. Call it self-care, call it a girl’s getaway - in fact, call it whatever you want because the reason they are trending right now is that they are so much fun. With that in mind, I wanted to share my number one tip for making the most out of a girl’s only vacation (which of course can be modified to fit a guy's interest or any group you want to travel with based on what you all enjoy doing). My best advice is start with a stay at an all-inclusive resort and here's why...
Why All-Inclusive is a Good Bet for Girl's Trip
The great thing about staying at an all-inclusive resort is that they often provide nonstop entertainment, access to a spa, usually a golf course nearby, and they always include meals and drinks.
It's also a great way for friends on different budgets to be on the same level that week. When you opt for an all-inclusive resort, you don’t have to worry about keeping your costs in check while having all that fun since nearly everything you want is included!
It’s important to note that some of the amenities may not be included in your all-inclusive resort stay, and some resorts may have more restrictions, extra fees or requirements, so it's important to know which resort brand would best fit your group's expectations. Resort vacations usually offer a significant bang for your travel buck.
Here are some ideas to stretch the fun even further without breaking the bank:
Want to learn more about hosting a girls-only, or even a guys-only trip? Book your consultation or call today (913) 244-9195.
I just returned from Los Cabos, Mexico after attending a luxury travel conference. Afterwards, I also took the time to tour 12 resorts while I was there. If you haven't been to Cabo in the last few years - it's time to return! You won't recognize it with all the growth between the new resorts and infrastructure. Some major resort players in the luxury market that just opened within the last year are the Montage, Nobu and Viceroy just to name a few.
I was even told that over the last years their climate has been changing a bit too, making it greener than I remembered. Between the stunning mountain scapes with both tropical and desert landscaping as well as, the beautiful ocean views where you can watch whales breach the waters from the shoreline during this magical season - it's a true oasis you must see for yourself! Another unique feature about Cabo is if you stay in the right location, you can see both the sunrise and sunset each day! I was able to also enjoy the moon rise at the same time the sun was setting and it was a spectacular vision that no words can describe.
Toward the end of my adventure though, I was feeling a little sluggish and started getting that "sick" feeling in my throat. As soon as the plane took off to return home, my nose started running as fast as the plane was going and it hasn't stopped since. I'm writing this with a full blown cold and head about to pop, so don't judge me on the grammar errors :) I felt this was a good topic to discuss this week and wanted to provide some of my recommendations on staying healthy when traveling. Even though it can sometimes be inevitable, especially for me this time, as I was "too busy" to follow my own rules.
For many travelers, health is the last thing on your mind when traveling. However, it's important to consider how your actions while traveling can affect you upon returning home. The last thing you, or your boss for that matter wants, is for you to return and request sick days after your vacation. Here are some of my tips for staying healthy when traveling...
Have an Emergen-C plan!
First line of defense. There is a simple, non-expensive solution I like to use while traveling. It's important to start an immune system booster, such as Emergen-C or other like product, before you travel and continue until returning home. This should assist in keeping you healthy and happy for the duration of your trip.
Watch What You Eat.
I know, I know! You are on vacation. I am not saying don't indulge, but I am saying don't over indulge. Sure, have some carbs. And of course, have that second glass of wine. Just be mindful of the fact that if you go too overboard with the indulgence, you could pay the price that day, the next day, or worse – the entire trip. There are few things as depressing as having a hangover while you're away, and missing out on the fun is definitely one.
Plus, when you are used to eating and drinking a certain way, your body can react negatively to overdoing it with the heavier and more sugary food and drinks you have. It might not be food poisoning; it could just be your body rejecting the junk it's not used to. SIDE NOTE: Pineapple is a natural diuretic, so enjoy those Piña colada's in moderation.
Move Your Body.
When you're traveling, it's important to get in a little exercise. The good news is, you will probably be walking a lot more than you would at home. However, if you have been too sedentary for a while, like an overseas flight for 8 hours, you need to get the blood flowing as soon as possible. Some experts even suggest taking a walk on the plane if you will be flying for more than a few hours. Better yet, schedule a foot and leg massage the first day to get your circulation moving.
Get Some Sleep – Seven to Eight Hours Minimum.
Do yourself a favor and don't stay up late and get up early everyday of your trip. Yes, there may be a lot you want to see and do on vacation, but not getting enough sleep wreaks havoc on your immune system. Sleep recharges your batteries, allows healthy cell regeneration, and lets you to be more present during your waking hours.
Drink More Water.
Water is the best thing you can be drinking when traveling (and when you're at home of course). It flushes toxins, re-hydrates your body, aids in digestion, boosts your mood, and keeps you more awake than coffee – trust me, water is awesome! Drink plenty of it. If you will be walking a lot, or will be in warmer climates, you'll need to drink more to stay hydrated as well. De-hydration is the number one cause of jetlag, and water is the best way to flight back on long flights.
Don't forget to bring hand sanitizer and wipes with you. I like to wipe down my seat area on the plane - you never know what happened there before you (I have seen some very unpleasant things). I also keep my hand sanitizer close after touching all the germy luggage, doors, bathroom stalls, etc... and don't forget to wipe down the hotel room remote and handles as well.
This is far from an exhaustive list of ways to stay healthy while traveling. Hopefully it got you thinking about some ways you can help yourself too. May your vacations be long, your transits hassle free, and your bodies be healthy!
When you are ready to plan your next vacation, just Book your consultation. Destinations HD can help you design the perfect trip for your needs!
I have seen a lot of bad reviews on various forums for some of my favorite resorts, and they have one thing in common... the beach and seaweed issue. This is so unfortunate to see, as the resorts have no control over mother nature and that's an unfair negative review that the properties don't deserve.
I’m all about full disclosure, and when I start to plan a trip with my clients, I like to prepare you on the expectations to ensure you make a good decision that fits with your desires. It upsets me when tourists travel to a destination they have never been to, or maybe visited 7 years ago, and they see pretty pictures from someone else's vacation thinking they will get that same "picture perfect" vacay, only to arrive disappointed and then leave a bad review. This stems from the lack of knowledge of a destination, the resort brand differences, seasonal changes, or the understanding that things can change dramatically after a few years, just to name a few reasons. There are so many factors that can affect your experience, and as a professional in the travel industry, those are what I take into consideration when planning your vacations.
I feel the need to chat about the elephant in the room regarding many Caribbean Sea destinations, which some travel agencies may shy away from openly discussing. I'm talking about Sargassum Seaweed. Can you still enjoy a vacation in the Caribbean? Absolutely! Below is what you need to know about Sargassum Seaweed, so that you can plan accordingly to ensure your expectations are managed and will have an amazing vacation without disappointment.
And by the way - it also effects South Florida and other US beaches near the Atlantic, so it's not just an international concern.
First, what is Sargassum Seaweed?
The Reader’s Digest version is that it’s a brown algae that is growing in record levels on the coasts of beaches in the Caribbean. The reality is that it's a wonderful habitat for mahi mahi, amberjacks, sailfish, other breeds of dolphins, and more. You can read more about the why, what and where of the brown algae here.
It’s been called a floating jungle, and it provides a wonderful shelter, home and food source for several animals under the sea. Still, for some travelers it’s an eyesore, smelly, and not something they want to experience on a Caribbean getaway.
It’s important to note that locals are continually trying to remove it from beaches, so that it’s only in the water for sea life, but the process isn’t exactly easy or swift. This leaves some travelers wondering how to enjoy a Caribbean trip in the midst of the record seaweed growth.
How can you enjoy a Caribbean vacation regardless of Sargassum Seaweed?
For starters, you can upgrade your room with a plunge pool or swimout room. It’s the island breeze, the stunning sunsets, cultural experiences, exotic foods and the warm tropical temperatures that really brings tourists to the Caribbean, after all! You can still enjoy all of that and a dip in the water without having to wade into the ocean water.
In fact, there are many amazing luxury properties, and all-inclusive resorts that offer better pool experiences than beach experiences anyway. Look for resorts that are more focused on their pools, and you’ll still enjoy time in the water without the potential for foul smelling brown algae dampening your fun. Many all-inclusive resorts have included activities as part of your stay, so be sure to utilize all that is offered, such as: tennis lessons, water volleyball, ping pong, board games, outdoor movies, bike tours, yoga, and so much more!
Another recommendation is to take advantage of the outside experiences around you. Go explore the culture! Depending on the destination, you can find lots of other activities from snorkeling tours, zipline adventures, ATV excursions, city tours, sailing trips, shopping and so much more!
If it’s beach or bust, your options become a little more limited.
The other option is to choose a destination that is on the Pacific Ocean side or pick an area outside of the Caribbean. Mother nature can't be controlled or predicted, so if you can’t handle the plethora of Sargassum Seaweed, and aren’t really interested in a pool focused getaway, you should consider an alternative destination.
There is no need to be disappointed or upset on vacation from an uncontrollable force in nature. It's not the destination or resort's fault, so that should never affect your review of a property. Please ensure you are well prepared before you make your reservation. This is another reason why using a travel professional can be so beneficial - just be sure the agent follows these types of situations and is willing to share the pro/cons about a resort or destination as you plan. Not all agents are experienced or have personally been to a destination, so they don't always know what to think about when planning. Use a travel professional that is experienced in the destination you are considering for travel.
Remember that one week the beaches can be pristine, but the next week it may be covered with seaweed, so it’s not something you can plan around. You may be lucky to not have any issues during your vacation, while the next week at the same location, another family experiences something completely different than you. There is no “best time” to travel to avoid this, but it generally occurs more frequent during the stormy season, so pay attention to the destination and the weather patterns when planning.
Want to learn more about your best vacation destinations? Call Destinations HD, and we help you design the perfect getaway to match your expectations. We want you to have the best vacation possible regardless of the elements. Book your consultation or call today (913) 244-9195.
Between all the summer activities, getting ready for the upcoming school year, and the insane holiday season just around the corner, thinking about planning your next vacation may feel a bit overwhelming right now. However, if you plan to travel this winter or upcoming Spring Break, it's important to get reservations made as soon as possible before prices continue to increase and availability becomes more scarce.
Below are some simple tips for taking the stress out of travel...
Think about the last time you went on a vacation. Did you really escape? When you returned home were you just as exhausted before you left? If you're like a lot of people, you took off, and got back just as stressed as you were prior to your departure. The number one cause of not full enjoying a vacation? It's a tie between dealing with stressful situations that came up on your trip, and not leaving the stress of life back home at home.
Let's discuss how to avoid this...
Plan your travel early. Time goes by so fast these days, and in a blink of an eye you only have a couple months left to figure out your travel plans. By then, the best accommodations are full, the good flight schedules are sold out or no longer have seats together, and prices tend to be higher.
I see this too often and many people end up no longer traveling because the price has increased so much more since I quoted them months prior. There is a common misconception that waiting until the last minute offers the best deals. This use to be true many years ago, but hasn't been the case for a long time. Don't forgo your vacation because you waited too long to book. Everyone needs a break and you will find the best deals by making your arrangements well in advance.
Create a plan to execute, but be okay with ditching the plan. Make a list of everything you need to bring with you on your trip, and then pack. Just this trick alone can save you loads of stress. Rather than worrying if you forgot something, you'll have peace of mind because you took time to think about what you needed instead of going about packing haphazardly.
Make a list of the places you want to see and visit on your trip. This is where being willing to ditch the plan comes in. Too many people create an itinerary, and then feel they have to commit to it causing them to do and see things that didn't keep the fun going. If you get to a museum and suddenly realize they bore you to tears, you don't have to go to any other museums if you don't want to! Consider this your permission slip.
Get everywhere early. Flights, dinner reservations, shows and games – what do they all have in common? They generally have a time attached to them. Give yourself plenty of buffer time to arrive everywhere you need to be. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than missed flights and late arrivals to important events.
Intend to be on vacation. Okay, this one might sound silly, but you need to have the mindset to be on vacation. This means not checking in at work, or working at all while on the vacation. Going into a vacation with the intention of letting everything at home stay at home can work wonders for your stress levels. Your body and mind needs this escape, so allow yourself to actually get away completely!
Go to sleep, and sleep at least 8 hours every night. This tip may shock you, but one of the reasons travelers come home even more exhausted and stressed, is they try to pack too much into their schedule while away, and they barely sleep. Yes, a getaway is exciting, but you'll enjoy it more with a good night's sleep each night.
Hire a travel agent. When you work with a travel agent to coordinate and schedule your travel accommodations and transportation, you're allowing them to take some of the work off your plate for you. If anything goes wrong or need changes - you have someone to call that works for you, so you can get back to enjoying your trip.
For your next trip, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195. You don't have to spend countless hours creating your perfect trip – that's our job! Let us handle the heavy lifting for you, so that all you have to do is show up. Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195.
I wanted to take a minute to tell you about this new adults only cruises on Virgin Voyages I'm super excited about! Cruising has been getting more popular, but in a lot of cases, the experience has stayed the same - until now...
Virgin has long been a company that takes an industry and revolutionizes it, so when I heard that they were dipping their toe’s into the salty seas, I couldn’t wait to see what they came up with – and they have not disappointed thus far.
Virgin has created a cruising experience unlike any other, that they’re not even using the word “cruise” – this is something different, chic and unique, so I hope you’ll be as excited as we are to welcome Virgin Voyages as a new way to travel!
- All The Things -
Virgin is coming out the gate strong and promising “all the things” on their elevated, adults-only journeys. With 20+ eateries onboard – including a vegetarian forward restaurant with a "naughty menu", there really is something for everyone. They also don't conform to the assigned dining times, so you can enjoy meals at your leisure. And if just eating your food is a little too like every other cruise for your palate, then head to The Test Kitchen where you’ll find part cooking school, part restaurant and a ton of fun! Virgin also don't believe in food buffet's, due to all the waste it produces, so you will find the quality of the food will be superior... AND the best part... NO additional charges to enjoy all the variety of dining options! They don't believe in "nickle-and-dimeing" guests either.
If you need to burn off calories after all that taste sensation, their flagSHIP, the Scarlet Lady, has entertainment like no one else on the seven seas. How about a two story, three bar space with DJ’s spinning beats that will get your booty moving – stay long enough and you can definitely count this as your morning workout!
If you really want to go for it though, and come back from vacay looking and feeling better than ever, the outdoor running track, bikes, classes, detox bar and state of the art gym have got your back. Choices like sunrise yoga, outdoor boxing, curated hikes and even meditation are all available to make sure you can eat and drink guilt free the whole time! **Destinations HD is not responsible for any decisions made to get tattoos at the onboard tattoo parlor after dopamine levels have increased due to high intensity workouts.
Another thing that sets this cruise apart is their commitment to going green. As they said, “to do that, we’ve embedded sustainability deeply into both our operations and the sailor experience itself. Through pioneering innovative and sustainable technologies, banning unnecessary single-use plastics, and thoughtfully sourcing food and retail merchandise — we’re creating a sailor experience that balances the duality of enjoying the earth and caring for it.”
- Where the Magic Happens -
The accommodations are also very unique... including many "solo" cabins. These cabins were designed for comfort and style and I can’t wait to get in one myself – why yes I DO want a hot tub, 6 person table and chairs, and a hammock on my private terrace at sea thank you! If you really want to party like Richard Branson, book early to grab a Rock Star suite so you can enjoy the exclusive Richard Rooftop experience only available to those guest rooms.
Even if you opt for something a little less flamboyant, you’ll still be getting unlimited WiFi, 24 hour room service, and natural products – as well as adjustable colored mood lighting, a configurable Seabed that is designed to be a lot more comfortable than the sofa bed in your parents basement, and the ability to cast movies from your tablet to the TV.
This brand new voyage will debut on April 1st, 2020 and offer two, 5-day itineraries from Miami to the Caribbean and Mexico. There are still some cabins available for their first sailing, and you can expect this event to be the most incredible experience you have ever been a part of. Richard Branson knows how to do things right, so don't delay and give Destinations HD a call to start planning your one-of-a-kind vacation!
Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195.
Destinations HD is a different, better kind of travel agency that offers a one-of-a-kind travel planning service!